Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

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Linkman
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Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Linkman » Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:13 pm

Right, so I played two games with Gip and one with Sven. The result... it was pretty crappy.

Not to say the games are bad, unbalanced, or not fun, just that I didn't enjoy them much. While Gip is right that AWDS never reaches those huge stalemates AWBW does, it still is a metagame that rewards infantry greatly, is heavily reliant on what you build over how you use it, and is limited to six units most of the time. If you enjoy this, fair enough, be happy. I gave it some thought and came up with different way to play.

Here's the concept: it's a pre-deployed map, there are no bases. Each player gets an amount of money (30k, 50k, depends on size of the map of course), and has to choose which units will constitute his pre-deployed army. Obviously he has to use less than the amount of money allowed, and there should be a limit on unit type and size (for example, no more than 2 of each unit, 15 units max, what not). The units are only made known to the opponent after they're chosen and positioned in designated area.

I'm sure this concept has been done in other games, and maybe someone has even proposed it for AW. I think it may have potential, as it makes previously unusable units such as heavy tanks or bombers big threats, while nerfing the likes of infantry and recons. Plus, limited units means limited SCOPs, which may just make things a bit more balanced.

Obviously Hachi and Sensei break this, and Sami is a bit nerfed, but what do you think? Maybe it can be hacked in and all.
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GipFace
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Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by GipFace » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:53 pm

I'm sure this concept has been done in other games, and maybe someone has even proposed it for AW.
Yeah, it's called Fire Emblem wi-fi. It's what happens when reactionary building isn't in the game.

Lambda

Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Lambda » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:31 pm

Looks like a total war, it can be interesting.

What would be the limits of the units placement ?

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Blame Game

Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Blame Game » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:42 pm

can't hurt to fudge around with it

GipFace
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Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by GipFace » Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:56 am

To be blunt, Advance Wars has always been about the soldiers. AWBW has something like 60% infantry and 3% mechs, and AW3 ups the infantry count to 65-70%. I'm not as concerned about the infantry flooding as most simply because both sides will do it, and it's rarely the infantry that matter in the end; rather, it's the few basic units you have that largely determine your outcome. The real issue with both AWBW and AW3 is that tech units are set up to be useless because they can't 1HKO. What's the point of building them when you can 2HKO just as effectively with two basic units?

The midgame is usually set up so that you have a choice. You can either build a basic unit each day, or you can bank by building a soldier, then using the banked money later to build a tech unit. It's just that the majority of players aren't skilled enough to survive into the midgame, and so it seems that every game is just a soldier fest.

I feel that all the concerns posted here were largely corrected in AW4. It solved the infantry flooding problem, but the soldier count is still around 50%: 2:1:1 among mech/infantry/bike. And that's just my playstyle; I could see someone else not focusing on soldiers and still play effectively. Bikes shortened the capture phase, so people can build their basic units faster. Also, games are greatly decided on how you use your COU, and tech units can actually 1HKO, so you have a metagame with 14 units instead of 7.
  • AW3:
    Infantry
    Tank
    B-Copter
    Antiair
    Artillery
    Recon
    Black Bomb

    AW4:
    (First six listed, plus...)
    Mech
    Bike
    Md tank
    War tank
    Rockets
    Bomber
    Duster
    T-copter

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Linkman
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Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Linkman » Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:26 am

Don't you like random Pokemon gip? I think a similar concept could be worked here, with a random army. Limitations need be applied of course, such as each player gets at least one heavy tank, an anti-air unit if the opponent gets air units, etc
"everytime I try to draw xen I end up drawing a kangaroo smoking a cigar while chainsawing a tree" - Deoxy
"I can't believe I'm the only person who voted Stallone. His appeal lies in watching is movies again and again just to hear what the hell he's talking about." - Kilteh

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Kireato

Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Kireato » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:37 am

In advance wars, the incentive to attack lies in denying funds to your opponent while acquiring funds for yourself, and these funds are important, because they help you better your army through deployment of units in exchange of funds. In pre-deployed where the only goal is to destroy the enemy army, human players will just entrench themselves and do nothing. If you set up a different goal such as securing more cities than your opponent in a limited time then you're dealing with some ridiculous fta because the first player will be moving a large army first and will be able to entrench further on the map.
and there should be a limit on unit type and size (for example, no more than 2 of each unit, 15 units max, what not)
Is there some reason for which you couldn't apply such rules in your usual, non pre-deployed, maps? IIRC the AI limits itself to 5 infantry/mechs or example.

But really, advance wars is just not a good multiplayer game. There are far too many time-consuming shallow decisions to make, even in AW4 which is by far the most interesting to play in multiplayer in the series. FoW makes the game more interesting too since it's much harder to ascertain the correct moves.
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Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by GipFace » Sat Jan 11, 2014 2:59 am

Disagree on the time-consuming shallow decisions, because not enough people are trained to take their turn in 1 or 2 minutes. Generally there will be around 25-30 units peak per game. I can handle that in 2 minutes at a comfortable rate. That makes a 30-day game last under 40 minutes, tops, since the first few days shouldn't take more than 30 seconds each.

In every game there will be units that are never used. Even Starcraft Brood War, which is seen as the pinnacle of balance, had several unused units no matter what the matchup was. (Terran ghost/valkyrie, Zerg queen/devourer, Protoss scout/dark archon)

It's a shame that over two-thirds of the AW3 units aren't feasible, but that's perhaps the byproduct of AWBW's insistence on three starting properties. Perhaps the game would be more interesting if 1v1 maps had zero neutral properties. And that may be a more elegant solution than trying to design some Crap Wars variant.
Last edited by GipFace on Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Narts
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Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Narts » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:34 am

Hey Crap Wars was elegant

BTW I remember proposing pre-deployed wars at Custom Wars, in the form of a special type of base that gets deleted at the end of the first turn.

That solution might be relatively straightforward to hack into one of the official games

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Kireato

Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Kireato » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:58 am

I'm not sure how saying that the length of a full game lasting under 40 minutes shows that there aren't too many shallow decisions... If anything, it strongly suggests that most of the actions that are taken during a turn are indeed completely uninteresting. How else is going through so many actions in a turn possible in such little time if not precisely because most actions do not require to solve any dilemma? (And to give examples of these mindless actions: are you going to finish capturing a property with that infantry, the answer is almost always yes. Are you going to move that unit towards the front while using as much of its movement as possible? Again, yes.) There are too many actions that require no thinking whatsoever to take correctly, and when you put all of those actions together, they take time. Most of that 40 minute game is quite simply mindless and boring.

I don't know about any insistence to start with three properties. It always seemed like a valid decision to me since FTA is minimized when there's gradual growth of power. I'm not sure how maps with zero neutral properties would turn out; it's certainly interesting to think about it. My guess is that maps will first have to be adapted to deal with the fact that the first player gets to put out costly units on the field first. But I'm not sure there'd be enough incentive to attack if there were truly zero neutral properties and they were distributed as they should be after a normal capturing game. Fighting over those last neutral properties or hindering an opponent's capture phase through early harass are the moments when players can make a difference to disturb the symmetry and take the advantage.

But awbw players mentioned playing with higher funding per property. And as expected, the extra funds in the bank encouraged teching. So you could also do that.
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JSRulz

Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by JSRulz » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:30 pm

Actually, pre-deployed wars is an interesting concept.

In one case, each decision made is going to have a lot more impact, and there will be a clear cut boundary to figure out whether you are winning or losing quickly. On the other, limiting the amount of rules is sending the game closer to its original roots of chess. As each piece has to be used in a specific way to achieve the right outcome. It is apples to oranges, both are fundamentally different types of play-styles.

What I've realized in AW competitive case is that it is very close to a fighting game or a real-time strategy game. In fighting games, there are moves that you go to every single time called "staple" moves. There are moves that you use for a certain situation which are ironically called "situational" moves. There are moves that have no use at all usually called "garbage". What is even more interesting is no matter how small a move list is, the moves will always be pushed into these categories. In AW and Starcraft, unit movement and damage is decided by these exact same metrics, and there will always be better unit choices to make than others.

I think a big piece of AW's problem competitively that is hard to rectify is the impact of a decision. Unlike many other games, where the impact is immediately felt, decisions made at the beginning of AW game carry through all the way to the ending of AW game. Case in point, the army whose units last the longest typically are the ones who is going to win the game. Since this isn't tangible, and not something players can readily see, it becomes a boring task and something that people don't feel as invested in. Having smaller goals, like taking over neutral properties, helps a lot in that regard. Being able to visualize progress is one of the challenges I realize is the problem with having factories that spew out units.

Anyway, I just wanted to chime in to say that the problem can just be that some people don't want to play a long drawn out battle. There are those that need to visualize the impact of their decisions, and this mode might help them do it a bit easier.

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Blame Game

Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Blame Game » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:53 pm

i think there's plenty of crumpets in plenty of games that 'doesn't present any dilemma.' pretty sure starcraft is like massively filled with that, it's just that it's also tied to sometimes-harsh execution requirements. which is arguably even worse

classic board games have sequences you literally memorize etc

it's natural for games to have that stuff, the best thing you can do is limit the amount of time/effort it takes to actually do it. AW1-3 do terrible jobs of that, DoR verifiably does a much better job. i think it's fair to say that it could do a lot better, but the point is that it's a solvable problem

DoR's changes like, barely qualify as more than a big balance patch. infantry changes, charge changes. turned it from a game that is literally depressing to play, to something very playable and probably worthy to pursue as a competitive game. needless to say it probably would not take much experimentation to figure out how to bully AWDS into something enjoyable

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Narts
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Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Narts » Sat Jan 11, 2014 3:07 pm

Yeah there are always moves which are obvious and which take some time to execute. I don't think they're a problem. In a timed match a good player will use the time making those moves as downtime to think about the actual decisions that matter.

Despite the quantity of these 'shallow' moves there's almost always at least one or two non-obvious important decisions to make during a turn, much like chess. In chess, the players are not spending time moving dozens of pieces mechanically towards a front, but they still spend that time staring at the board and thinking. Advance Wars just has the added stress of having to think while doing something else at the same time. And identifying which moves are important and which ones are obvious, in itself, is a skill that takes training and focus.

I'm not entirely sure where this idea that AW is shallow and not a good multiplayer game comes from. I've never felt like the game was too simple or obvious, certainly not when I was playing against an actually good player like Gip, Black Mont-Blanc or Sven. Even when the tiers and hierarchies for the different CO's and units got mapped out the actual tactics and strategies during a game didn't become automated. You still had to be good at playing the game in order to win.

The problem really is that people just don't play the game.

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Blame Game

Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Blame Game » Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:51 pm

i feel like sven was instrumental in that, feel free to blow me up if i happen to be making crumpets up there though

the first incidence i remember of people getting all self-conscious about AW's 'depth' was when sven called it a bad competitive game back in custom wars. which set off this mass existential crisis where people freaked out and started making drastic suggestions for like starcraft buildings and crumpets, since sven's word was god, AW is inherently terrible why are we even trying blah blah blah

before that people were pretty much just preoccupied with infantry, balance issues, etc.

at the same time i do agree that the series suffers from major deep-seated issues, i just don't think they're in any way unique to advance wars. i also don't think 'shallowness' really describes them.

it's more like AW has a huge amount of pointless crumpets to wade through before you get to the 'real game' part. there's an entire phase of the game that is basically pointless crumpets incarnate. you shuffle around with literally the most boring units in the entire game, capturing uncontested properties with little or no interaction with your opponent whatsoever. this isn't contributing any depth to the game, it's straight up a list of chores

people have tried suggesting alternatives but the community (a) doesn't play and (b) is remarkably change averse. i've heard people talk about predeployed units, pre-owned properties, fog, balance hacks, complete mods and more for years. never has any of those things received any extended testing, with the one exception being custom wars

time zones permitting i'd be cool with messing around with different stuff online with people but frankly i'm more interested in games that don't carry all this baggage, developing my own ideas etc.

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Sven

Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Sven » Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:52 am

kireato pretty much nails most of the issues

it's really difficult to start with stuff on the map in a "fair fight" and not have FTA become the biggest factor. if you remove the FTA factors you have no reason to fight period.

at this point i'm honestly most willing to see scenarios where like, one person has base access but no army, other person just starts with some large army. tweak a single map a few times and see what comes out. AW isn't really interesting to me without the bases.

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Kireato

Re: Pre-deployed wars: A concept.

Post by Kireato » Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:04 am

I agree that not all decisions have to present a dilemma and that plenty of other games have such padding. I also agree with the comments on timed play and how important interaction is.

I don't think AW was ever depressing to play. It's just that you get bored of it quickly because it lacks depth and degenerates in a few valid plays. (The opening libraries in chess are proof of how deep the game is and studying them is interesting as is. While you could construct such libraries for AW, a few rule of thumbs suffice, even for the 'real game'. ) I just don't think becoming good at AW is hard.

As for people not playing the game, well in my case, I'm not that dedicated. I would play it casually if it's convenient (so, asynchronous play). I'm sure I wouldn't shirk live play if it was convenient enough.

(I'll note that I can't remember the custom wars board much but I never take anyone else's words for granted.)
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